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ABSC candidates face-off over constitutional revisions

Most candidates agreed that the AB constitution needed amendments, but nuanced on when and how it would be done.

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ABSC (Artlets Student Council) candidates debated over constitutional reforms and the future of the council’s transition plans on face-to-face classes. 

Most candidates agreed that the AB constitution needed amendments, but nuanced on when and how it would be done.

Presidential aspirant Cyrille Coronado spoke about amending the bill of rights and giving students the right to reconsideration of their cases, stating it would protect student activists.

“Isa sa mga specific na gusto kong i-dagdag sa bill of rights is ‘yung pwede mag-appeal for reconsideration regarding the verdict ng kaso ng isang estudyante, ‘yung estudyante mismo kasi kailangan natin protektahan ung interest nila,” Coronado said.

VP aspirants Ierathel Tabuno and Timothy John Santiago both concurred on revising the constitution based on the needs of the student body. 

“As Artlet student leaders, we have the responsibility to protect and serve the best interests of the AB student community. Which is why if meron nga pong urgency from the students and to create necessary revisions to the AB constitution, we will not hesitate to do so again,” Santiago said. 

AB’s constitution was last revised in 2005, almost two decades ago.

Transitions to a new normal

Presidential aspirant Kim Dacanay from Dekada also agreed in spearheading constitutional reforms but focused on her platform for transitioning to face-to-face classes. 

Meanwhile, Coronado’s platform for face-to-face transition is on centralizing information dissemination. 

When asked if Dacanay’s plans for face-to-face transition included the resumption of membership fees for orgs, she said this would be on a case-to-case basis with the organization in question. 

“Hindi tayo pwedeng maging super black-and-white on that, obviously kapag nasa student council ka, automatic na may student membership—nasa tuition na natin ‘yon,Dacanay said.

As of writing, the Faculty of Arts and Letters is still in its planning stage for face-to-face classes, prioritizing courses where the learning competencies cannot be achieved via online means.

The student council voting period will last from April 4 to 8. 

Christine Nicole Montojo
Stories Writer | + posts

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UST journ profs oppose NTC’s order to block independent media websites

“Whether we like to admit it or not, the Philippines is still home to a vibrant democracy that should remember it needs to uphold the value of a free press. Journalism is not a crime.”

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Photo from Angie De Silva/Rappler and Glenn Cartsens-Peters/Unsplash

The University’s journalism professors slammed the recent order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to block access to certain websites including independent media outlets Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly.

NTC was asked by the outgoing National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon on June 6 to block websites that are allegedly “affiliated to and are supporting” terrorist organizations, specifically the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New Peoples’ Army (NPA), and National Democratic Front (NDF). 

Esperon’s request, which listed 28 websites, had all been blocked without prior warning. 

“Bulatlat and the groups in the NSC [National Security Council] list were never informed of the said blocking request,” Janess Ellao, a reporter from Bulatlat wrote.

Since June 17, the 21-year-old alternative news outlet has been inaccessible to its subscribers using PLDT and Smart Communications. After writing to NTC, it was only then that they learned from a reliable source that the national security adviser made such a request.

Journalists around the country, including several professors from the University’s journalism program, aired their concerns with regards to the issue.

For Asst. Prof. Jeremiah Opiniano, democracy values freedom of expression regardless of a news outlet’s political leaning. 

He added that media outlets being “designated” by the NSC is something to be concerned about.

“Regardless of a news outlet’s political leaning (extreme left to left – where the listed news outlets may be categorized; extreme right to right – where the pro-government news outlets fall under), a democracy like ours values freedom of expression,” Opiniano said in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

“We let these news outlets provide the public with the information that may help people make important life decisions, from daily purchasing necessities to voting during elections,” he added.

Marishelle Medina, another faculty member of UST Journalism, echoed Opiniano’s statement, giving emphasis on being able to “at the very least question [the] government and all its stakeholders’ actions.”

“One of our roles as journalists and as Filipinos (especially as Filipinos) is make the government accountable — or at least provide readers the means that will allow them to do so,” she said in an interview.

“Information is a very important commodity, and it has to be shared if we are to achieve genuine change and unity. It has to be inclusive, not exclusive,” she added.

For Ramon Royandoyan, another Journalism professor, this is the Duterte administration’s “direct attack to constitutionally protected rights” and would continue to send chilling effects to how journalism is practiced in the country. 

“This would cloud Philippine journalism’s struggles to regain the public’s trust and beat back propaganda and disinformation,” he said in an interview.

“Whether we like to admit it or not, the Philippines is still home to a vibrant democracy that should remember it needs to uphold the value of a free press. Journalism is not a crime,” he added.

Aside from journalists, several human rights groups and organizations also expressed concern on the issue, calling it an attack on freedom of expression and information.

What is the basis?

In an interview, UST Journalism program coordinator Felipe Salvosa II questioned Esperon’s basis of his accusation.

“The accusation of being involved in terrorist activities is a heavy one. Was due process observed? Did the NSA ask these news organizations to explain, or tell them what’s wrong with their work?” Salvosa said in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

On June 23, Esperon defended the blocking of the sites, affirming that all mentioned in the request were affiliated with the communist insurgency.

This was debunked by the CPP-NPA in an earlier statement saying that only seven of the 28 websites mentioned are affiliated with them.

In Esperon’s request, the national security adviser claimed that these websites “have established pervasive online presence” to publish “propaganda and misinformation campaigns” against the national government.

He utilized the designation of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) on the CPP-NPA-NDF as a terrorist organization as a basis to block the said websites.

Designation, as defined in Section 25 of the Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terror Law (ATL), is the power given to ATC to “designate” or identify certain individuals, groups of persons, organizations, or associations as terrorists without any court order.

However, in section 6.4 of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of ATL, the effect of designation is only to freeze the assets of the subject being designated. The IRR also does not indicate any provision that allows blocking of websites. 

It also must be noted that Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly, which report about human rights and issues of the marginalized, are not designated as terrorists by the ATC.

As of writing, the websites of Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly remain inaccessible. A “mirror site” is provided for users to continuously access Bulatlat despite the recent incident. 

Ian Patrick Laqui
Reports Editor, Reports Writer | + posts
Justine Xyrah Rennzel Garcia
Reports Writer | + posts

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UST places 2nd top school in June 2022 architecture boards; three among top ten

UST registered an 88.24 percent passing rate or 255 out of 289 Thomasian examinees making the cut.

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(Photo by Marc Valmoria/TomasinoWeb)

The University ranked second among top-performing schools in June 2022 Architect Licensure Exam (ALE) with three Thomasians landing on the top ten highest scorers, results showed by the Professional Regulation Commission on June 22, Wednesday.

UST registered an 88.24 percent passing rate or 255 out of 289 Thomasian examinees making the cut. This is higher compared to the 87.94 percent passing rate from January 2022’s exams.

Gian Vincenz Dela Cruz led the new batch of Thomasian architects, placing second with an average of 81.90 percent.

Dela Cruz was followed by Thomasians Jam Scott Manalo and Oscar Kevin Castro who ranked fifth (81.50 percent) and ninth (81 percent), respectively.

The University of the Philippines Diliman was hailed as the top-performing school for the said boards, posting a 97.01 percent passing rate.

Meanwhile, the national passing rate for this month’s architecture boards rose to 63.72 percent with 3,037 out of 4, 766 examinees passing, higher than January 2022’s 62.13 percent where only 1,370 out of the 2,205 takers passed.

Justine Xyrah Rennzel Garcia
Reports Writer | + posts

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UST maintains spot in QS world rankings

The University maintained its ranking since the year 2018.

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Photo by Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

The University maintained its spot in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings released on Wednesday, June 8 with the rank of 801-1000.

The University maintained its ranking since the year 2018.

Among the top four Philippine universities, Ateneo de Manila University placed second with the rank of 651-700. Meanwhile, De La Salle University tied with UST in the 801-1000 bracket.

The University of the Philippines remained as the top university in the country despite its 13-spot decline in the world rankings, placing 412th globally.

UST received the rating in the following criteria: Academic reputation (10.8%), Employer reputation (23.9%), Faculty/Student ratio (15.4%), Citations per faculty (1.2%), International faculty ratio (40.3%), International student ratio (8.5%), International research network (12.1%), Employment outcomes (20.7%)

 

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